Don’t let age hold you back because, as they say, “50 is the new 40.” Actually, I don’t know if they really say that, but it could be true! Age really can just be a number. And or some it is! It’s more about how you feel than anything else.
Now if you are reading this it’s because you are thinking of becoming a yoga teacher. And it also means you are already older (50+) or are thinking of becoming a teacher later in life and wanting to know if it’s possible. According to the Washington Post research, approximately 21% of yoga practitioners are over 60. So that’s good news for you!
This article will explore how age affects becoming a yoga teacher and what potential obstacles you might have to overcome.
How Do You Become A Yoga Instructor When You’re Over 50?
Becoming a yoga instructor when you are over 50 can be exciting. Being able to transition into a new form of work can happen at any point in your life, no matter your age. It is never too late to follow your calling. And if your calling is to teach yoga, then now is the time!
No thanks to Instagram, you might think you have fit a certain body image to be a yoga teacher. We often picture the typical yoga teacher as some young fit blond twenty-something-year-old woman on a beach living her best life. What a mirage. If you did not already know, that is entirely not the case! Yoga teachers come in all ages and stages of life.
Let’s look at some possible benefits of becoming a yoga teacher in your golden years.
You Understand Yoga Better
Older adults have greater wisdom and experience, which gives them an advantage when teaching. They have a much wider and deeper experience to draw inspiration from. When you are young, it’s impossible to see things from perspective. Every young person would probably balk at that idea. But it is so true! I know because I was always told that. And now, in my 40s, I see how perspective only comes with age.
One of the biggest advantages of being a mature yoga instructor is that you have a greater understanding of life and the challenges that come with it. This allows you to connect with your students meaningfully and offer them guidance on how yoga can help them in their daily lives.
Your students will appreciate the wisdom and life experience you bring to the yoga mat. If you are just twenty, what experience can you really draw upon anyways?
You Are More Aware
With age comes wisdom. This maturity also provides an opportunity for instructors to better understand their own practice and how that connects to the physical and mental needs of those they teach.
People in their later years have had more time to explore what it means to be human. And with it you have had more time to truly realize what that means. Yoga is something that has to be lived.
And truly living takes time. Yoga is not just something that you do on the mat. That awareness is something that it just not there when you are still wet behind the ears.
More mature teachers bring something special to the mat. On a personal note, One of my favorite teachers of all time is over fifty. And she is still rocking it. Let me tell you.
You are more Mature
Aging is often portrayed as a negative process, but with age comes other gifts. Take for example one of the worlds oldest yoga teachers – Tao Porchon-Lynch who recently passed away has been teaching well into her 80s and 90s and even when she turned 100!
With age comes maturity. Something that only time gives us. It also brings confidence, something you need to have in abundance as a teacher. This increased sense of knowing gives older instructors depth from where they can lead classes, from a place of authority and self-assuredness.
Now that we have talked about some of the good things, let’s talk a bit (let’s not call it negative things) but things that you may want to watch out for.
Disadvantages of being an older yoga teacher
Now with the good comes the (not so good). Depending on how you look at it, they are just obstacles to overcome rather than any limitations.
The Physical Body
As you probably know, as we age, our bodies change and can become more delicate. You may need to be more careful and modify your practice and/or teaching style. As a new teacher at 60, you might not want to jump into teaching Mysore-style ashtanga for instance. You might want to start teaching something like hatha, Iyengar, or yin yoga asana.
With that being said, I know several vinyasa flow teachers that are over 50! So, it’s all about how old you feel rather than how old you are.
With age can come wisdom, but it can also come with an info gap. While older yoga teachers may have more knowledge and wisdom, they might be behind on current trends (as tacky as that sounds there are actually trends).
To be fair what you are missing here is really nothing to be missed. Rather than trying to imitate a younger generation of teachers, it’s better to step into your own – whatever that is.
Yoga classes are often taught by younger teachers who may be more attractive to potential students and will have an easier time filling their classes. As silly as that sounds, yoga has been hyper-commoditized and sexualized. You do not have to go very far to see this type of marketing in action.
It is more subtle than traditional billboard advertising, but it’s there subtly between the lines. Unfortunately, we are caught up in the glorification of youth and all that comes with it.
But again beauty fades with the sun, and really beauty is only skin deep. When we touch Yoga we begin to see beauty from a different place entirely.
So what does this all mean?
The only thing that really matters is following your heart and trusting your intuition. Everything else is just noise. Until next time.